Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Middle Man

(Picture courtesy of newspapersoc.org.uk)

I ran across a pasuk in this week's parsha that caught my attention since Moshe Rabbeinu plays the middle man in the same manner that I do at work. When I am forced to go to someone whom I know isn't going to like the message that I have been directed to communicate, I always make sure to preface the message with a statement like this, "Listen, I am like the phone chord here. I am only relating the directives of my boss. I am just a cog in the machine ."

Now, compare that with Bamidbar 16:28:

"Moshe said, "With this you shall know that Hashem sent me to do all these deeds, for I did not devise them myself."

8 Comments:

At June 13, 2007 at 8:36:00 AM EDT, Blogger yitz.. said...

there's a subtle difference here between what your saying and
"i was just following orders"

i wonder how to break it down.

 
At June 13, 2007 at 8:39:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Now you have my interest and I look forward to hear your thoughts on this subtle difference.

 
At June 13, 2007 at 8:57:00 AM EDT, Anonymous shoshana (bershad) said...

Yes, I agree with Yitz. Your statement seems to be saying "I'm just the messenger, so don't blame me for the message," whereas Moshe Rabbeinu is saying "I'm just the messenger, but the message comes from a Higher Authority." In other words, yours is a disclaimer, and Moshe's is a hechsher.

 
At June 13, 2007 at 9:02:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

AHA! ok, maybe there is a difference.

 
At June 13, 2007 at 11:39:00 AM EDT, Anonymous chabakuk elisha said...

Of course, lehavdil, the defense used by many German soldiers after WW2 was, "I was just following orders."
Whereas Moshe isn't saying the same thing - like Shoshana pointed out so well.

 
At June 13, 2007 at 12:02:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Yes, I have come to realize that. But now addressing the concept of "just following orders" it has now unfortunately come to always have this connotation with Nuremburg, wheras there are times when we have to do just that...just follow orders.

 
At June 13, 2007 at 12:15:00 PM EDT, Anonymous chabakuk elisha said...

True - as long as we keep in mind that by following orders we become an extension of others; we need to be sure that those "others" fit their status, since we are - by definition - giving them some kind of hechsher...

 
At June 13, 2007 at 1:54:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i would only say: "hey, i'm just the messenger here..." or"i'm just delivering a message:"(which is better because you detatch from being "the messenger". and maybe "good luck" or something. i wouldn't say "i'm just a cog in the machine" because it gives a discomfiting sense of the impersonal. then, smile and leave.

 

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